The Interdisciplinary and Multidisciplinary Studies Program

Interdisciplinary and Multidisciplinary Studies is a great way to combine your various interests into one degree. Many employers and graduate programs care less about the exact subjects you studied and care more that you can express yourself well, think critically, work with others who are different than they are, and make connections among ideas. Interdisciplinary work is also a way to come up with great ideas that can improve the world.

Do you want to study two or more subjects and think about how they intersect? Do you have a burning question or a theme you would like to focus on that covers various course areas? Are you transitioning from one area of interest or work to another? Or, are you not quite sure what you want to study and want to be able to try a lot of subjects? If so, Interdisciplinary and Multidisciplinary Studies (IMS) may be right for you.

Students in IMS work closely with their mentors to develop their degrees. They can help you think of the best ways to combine your interests, background, and experiences into a coherent degree path.

Students might earn an Associate of Science (AS) or Associate of Arts (AA) Degree or Bachelor’s of Science (BS) or Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in IMS with a specific concentration that will allow them to:

  • develop a concentration that covers two areas in which they have coursework, such as Business and Literature or Human Services and Psychology.

  • concentrate in interdisciplinary academic fields such as American Studies, Indigenous Studies, Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies, or Environmental Studies.

  • develop a concentration designed to cover a theme such as Social Justice, which might include courses in literature, social sciences and environmental science.

  • answer a question such as “What is happiness?” through a variety of courses in cultural studies, psychology, history and the arts.

Each program should include courses from at least two content areas and at least one study that connects the various areas.

Students who are less sure of what they want to do and who prefer a degree without a particular focus may:

  • earn a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in IMS with a concentration in General Studies.

Why choose a degree in Interdisciplinary and Multidisciplinary Studies?

A degree in Interdisciplinary and Multidisciplinary Studies can be an excellent foundation for:

  • Teaching.
  • Graduate work.
  • Social services delivery.
  • Journalism or creative writing.
  • Advocacy in an area of interest.
  • Communications.
  • The Arts.
  • Law.

Program Requirements>>

All program requirements are in the college catalog. Please visit the college catalog’s Interdisciplinary/Multidisciplinary Studies: A.A., A.S., B.A., B.S. < SUNY Empire State University web page for current program requirements.

Degrees Available

Degrees in Interdisciplinary and Multidisciplinary Studies are offered at the associate and bachelor’s degree levels.

Contact Us

Liza Rieger,
Administrative Assistant 
Lisa D'Adamo-Weinstein,
(518) 220-3512


Examples of Common Interdisciplinary/Multidisciplinary Studies programs

Work with your mentor to come up with a program that works for you. This means looking at courses across the whole catalog.

Many students at Empire State University choose common interdisciplinary concentrations that can be found at institutions across the country and around the world. 

A few examples include:

Silhouette logo of men and women in various colors with their heads being the binary and non-binary gender symbols Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies  
United states of America Flag  American Studies  
bright, big, orange chrysanthemum  Environmental Studies  
image of hands holding a globe  Sustainability Studies  
Globe of the world. International Relations  
Three silhouettes, two of men and one of a woman stand before a gold city graphic with the words Fairness, Team Spirit, Quality, and Honesty all pointing to the word Success Leadership Studies  
computer keyboard Digital Studies  
black and white photograph close up on a stethescope  Health & Wellness  
“Africa,” one of student Paulette Jemmott’s delicate, handmade embroideries reflects the Africana Studies  
 Ethnic Studies  
  • African American Studies
  • Asian Studies
  • Latinx/Hispanic Studies


How do you put together a degree in Women's Gender & Sexuality Studies?

Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies is a popular program in many colleges. You may focus specifically on women (or men), feminist theory or theories, queer theory, gender in general, sexuality, intersectionality, women in leadership or something else.

Students wishing to study Women's, Gender & Sexuality Studies should work closely with their mentors to put together a program that explores the areas they want to explore that build on a foundation of foundational work, include at least one course that teaches the theory or methods of that program, and some integrating or capstone courses that bring together the ideas they want to explore.

Some courses in the catalog that might help you do that might include courses from a variety of areas. A few examples might include:

  • How bodies work from a scientific perspective
  • How humans of various gender and gender identities are depicted in art, literature or media
  • Issues of treatment in business, social services, in criminal justice, or other organizational settings
  • Global or political issues

You can start with one or more of the following:

  • GSST 1005 Intro Women's Gender & Sexuality Studies
  • GSST 2005 Intro LGBTQ+ Studies
  • SOCI 2010 Intro Race Class Gender

Then add foundation courses that touch on issues you'll be studying further. Here are a few examples of courses you might consider, although your transfer courses or assessed prior learning might work as well:

  • ANTH 1010 Intro to Cultural Anthropology
  • ARTS 1140 Media & Visual Literacy
  • BIOL 1340 Anatomy & Physiology 1 with Lab
  • CHFS 2012 Introduction to Family Studies
  • CRJS 1005 Intro to Criminal Justice
  • CUST 2010 Introduction to Culture
  • ENSC 1006 Intro Ecology & Sustainability
  • HUDV 1015 Human Development: Intro
  • PSYC 1005 Introduction to Psychology

Programs in interdisciplinary/multidisciplinary studies require at least one study that has a theoretical or methodological perspective. You might consider:

  • ANTH 3122 Sex & Gender in Global Perspective
  • COMM 4015 Women, Girls & the Media 
  • SOSC 3025 Social Science Research Methods

At the end of your program, you'll need an integrating or capstone study that brings together the various ideas in your program. Although there many be a number of courses in your program that integrate ideas, capstone courses are generally offered at the 4000 level. A few examples include:

  • PSYC 4025 Human Sexuality
  • ARTS 4035 Images of Women in Western Civilization
  • An independent study at the 4000-level that you and your mentor work out, such as Capstone in Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies or something even more specific like Capstone in LBGTQ+ Studies, or Transgender Issues

You will need at least 24 credits at the upper level (3000 or 4000 level) in your concentration, including your theory/methods and capstone course.

Popular Upper-Level Courses

Here are a few examples of courses we offer regularly that could be included in a program. You can work with your mentor to identify others, or use transfer credit or prior learning as long as you work with your mentor and justify it your rationale essay*

Courses from Social Sciences (Anthropology, Sociology, Political Science)

  • ANTH 3122 Sex & Gender in Global Perspective
  • ANTH 3030 Immigration Today: Gender & Family
  • SOCI 3015 Analyzing Race Class & Gender
  • SOCI 3110 Sports & Society

Courses from Behavioral Sciences (Human Development, Psychology)

  • PSYC 4025 Human Sexuality

Courses in the Arts:

  • ARTS 4035 Images of Women in Western Civilization
  • THEA 3025 History of American Musical Theater

Courses in Communications, Media or Film:

  • COMM 4015 Women, Girls & the Media
  • FILM 3010 Frozen and Beyond: Analyzing Gender, Race & Sexuality in Children's Animated Films
  • FILM 3052 The American Cinema

Courses in Literature:

  • LITR 3010 Children's Literature: Adv
  • LITR 3010 US Multicultural Fiction
  • LITR 3145 Young Adult Literature 

Courses in History:

  • HIST 3115 American Women's History
  • HIST 3190 Fashion in U.S. History
  • HIST 4005 Mad Men Mad Women: History of Women in the Twentieth Century

Courses from Business and Management:

  • MGMT 3090 Women in Management
  • HRMS 3010 Diversity in the Workplace
  • HRMS 3035 LGBT Workplace Issues

* Not all courses are offered in all terms. Work with your mentor to find a courses that meet your interests and work with your schedule and preferred methods of learning (online, in person, or both). Also check required or suggested prerequisites for all courses you add to your degree plan.

What are Interdisciplinary/Multidisciplinary Approaches?

There are several ways students approach interdisciplinary/multidisciplinary studies programs:

  • Common interdisciplinary programs found at other colleges and universities, such as women's, gender and sexuality studies, environmental studies, sustainability studies, ethnic studies 
  • Programs that combine two or three subjects or interests, such as business & literature, marketing & communications, or human development, biology & human services 
  • Programs that combine courses from a variety of areas to encompass a theme, like the question of poverty, or ask a question, such as how can we get to world peace? 
  • A general studies approach that has only a small area of focus